Finicky Buick headlamps

Owners of some 2010-2011 Buick LaCrosse vehicles (equipped with AFL…Adaptive Forward Lighting) may complain about the following problems:

-          One of the headlamp high intensity discharge (HID) bulbs is intermittent in operation or will not illuminate.

-          Intermittently, during start-up, the AFL Lamps Need Service message is displayed in the driver information center (DIC).

-          The AFL Lamps Need Service message is displayed continuously in the DIC, accompanies by a HID bulb that will not illuminate.

These conditions may be caused by any of the following:

-          Intermittent HID bulb operation due to early stage of an inoperative bulb.

-          An inoperative HID bulb due to end-of-life occurrence.

-          A headlamp ballast that is damaged due to overheating, or a repetitive and extreme amount of HID bulb restrikes.

-          A headlamp control module software anomaly. Under this condition, the headlamps will operate as intended. The customer may notice that the DIC has illuminated the AFL Lamps Need Service message.

DO NOT replace the headlamp control module or the headlamp assembly for any of the above conditions.

  1. Perform the Diagnostic System Check – Vehicle.
  2. Verify that both of the HID bulbs illuminate. If either HID bulb does not illuminate, replace it. If both of the HID bulbs illuminate, proceed to Step 3. Note: If the AFL Lamps Need Service message is being displayed intermittently, Step 3 may have to be repeated several times.
  3. Turn off the ignition for 60 seconds. Start the engine and observe the DIC for the AFL Lamps Need Service message. If the AFL Lamps Need Service message is intermittent and the headlamps are operating properly, then proceed to Step 5. If the AFL Lamps Need Service message is continuous and the HID bulb will not illuminate, OR if the customer reports that the bulb has failed to light intermittently, proceed to Step 4.
  4. Replace the headlamp ballast and proceed to Step 5. Note: During headlamp control module programming you may be required to select multiple calibrations dependent upon vehicle equipment. Have the vehicle build and RPO information available during the following procedure to ensure the correct calibrations are selected.
  5. A revised headlamp control module calibration has been released to address this condition. Reprogram the headlamp control module using the Service Programming System (SPS) with the latest calibration available on TIS2WEB. Refer to the SPS procedures in SI. When using a multiple diagnostic interface (MDI) for reprogramming, ensure that it is updated with the latest software version. NOTE: Stable battery voltage is critical during programming. During programming, the battery voltage must be maintained within the proper range of 12 – 15 volts. Only use the approved Midtronics PSC 550 Battery maintainer (SPS Programming Support Tool EL-49642) or equivalent during programming.
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